Monday, September 30, 2013

Senior Centers: Community Focal Point

According to National Council on Aging, senior centers are a community focal point and have become one of the most widely used services among older adults. Today, 11,400 senior centers serve more than 1 million older adults every day. Some interesting facts about participants: • Approximately 70% of senior center participants are women; half of them live alone. • The majority are Caucasian, followed by African Americans, Hispanics and Asians, respectively. • Compared with their peers, senior center participants have higher levels of health, social interaction, and life satisfaction and lower levels of income. • The average age of participants is 75. • 75% of participants visit their center 1 to 3 times per week. They spend an average of 3.3 hours per visit. Services: • Senior centers serve as a gateway to the nation’s aging network – connecting older adults to vital community services that can help them stay healthy and independent. • Senior Centers offer a wide variety of programs and services, including: o Meal and nutrition programs o Information and assistance o Health, fitness, and wellness programs o Transportation services o Public benefits counseling o Employment assistance o Volunteer and civic engagement opportunities o Social and recreational activities o Educational and arts programs o Intergenerational programs • To maintain operations, senior centers must leverage resources from a variety of sources. These include federal, state, and local governments; special events; public and private grants; businesses; participant contributions; in-kind donations; and volunteer hours. Most centers rely on 3 to 8 different funding sources. Research shows that older adults who participate in senior center programs can learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, mental, and economic well being. Baby boomers now constitute more than two-thirds of the 50+ population. Senior centers are developing new programs and opportunities for this dynamic generation of older adults. We invite you to visit our Senior Center, at 33 Ontario St, Lockport!

Monday, September 23, 2013

How to Give the Ultimate Keepsake

What are your personal financial goals? Amid the frenzy of financial demands—such as ensuring the stability of everyday lifestyle needs and planning for a secure retirement – do you also want to pass on some of your assets you worked so hard for over the years to your loved one? Do you have assets set aside for legacy gifting? An astonishingly large number of us, whether our assets are modest or great, live unaware of the power of planning. It is easy to put off future goals when today’s challenges and pleasures seem a high priority. Yet, the purpose of planning, after all, is to protect the people you care about most, long after you are unable to do so. The public is invited to a free seminar “How to Give the Ultimate Keepsake – learn how asset transfer planning can help increase the amount of money you leave to your heirs.” The seminar is presented by Doug Brino, northeast region sales director for Great West Life; hosted by David Gibbons, financial consultant from M&T Securities, Inc and Chris Marra, Lockport branch manager from M&T Bank on Wednesday, September 25th from 11:00 am – 12:00pm at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport. A man from humble beginnings, Phil never thought he would be in a position to make large estate gifts. But as his career blossomed and his wealth increased, he continuously thought back to his childhood and the values taught to him by his mother. “My mother used to say, ‘It’s more important to do good than it is to do well, but if you do well, you must do good.’ ” Phil finds great satisfaction from sharing his blessings with others. The seminar will provide strategies to ensure your assets will be transferred to your beneficiaries while having you maintain access to your money. Jessica recently lost her mother. Mom thought she had planned well, but Jessica found out when it was too late that there were many loose ends to mom’s estate plans that cost the family dearly. Now, Jessica is determined to make sure the same thing does not happen to her family when she is gone. Another topic that will be discussed at the seminar is that transfers of assets can be free from federal income tax and beneficiaries can possibly avoid the delays and costs of probate. People interested in attending the free seminar are asked to RSVP to Chris Marra at 433-6733. Assorted cookies and beverages will be served.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hearing Screenings Provide Insight

Sensory changes that people experience as part of the aging process are often misunderstood and lead to false stereotyping or labeling of a person as confused or failing. Sensory changes can include vision, diminishing taste or smell, or the focus of this week’s column, hearing changes. If you are an individual with reduced hearing, my hope is that this information will provide some tips to aid you in your daily functioning, happiness, and independence. If you are family or friend of a person with reduced hearing, my hope is that you too will gain some ideas about how to help your relatives and/or friends with their hearing loss. And, free hearing screenings will be offered for individuals who are interested. Be aware that as people age, there is a decline in their ability to hear. This age related hearing loss is usually greater for men than for women. The reason for this is unknown, but it is suspected that men have been exposed to more damaging noise during their lifetimes in the military service or in their jobs. People with hearing losses must depend upon others to speak clearly to them because they cannot compensate for their hearing loss themselves. When speaking to a hearing impaired individual, speak clearly and slowly and do not change the topic abruptly. Be sure to face the person at eye level and have light on your face so lip reading is possible. Ask the person what you can do to make hearing easier. People with normal hearing have a wide range between the quietest sound they can hear and the loudness which will be painful or irritating. For the hard of hearing, this range will be much smaller. Sounds may have to be quite loud to be heard, but if the sounds are even a little louder they may be too loud and become painful. Hearing loss is worse for high frequencies; some sounds will be heard while others will not. Sounds may be distorted, heard incorrectly, or misinterpreted. Talk to hard of hearing people to find out what tone is best to use with them. Do not assume that simply making things louder will resolve the problem. Try not to allow your voice to become high and shrill – women should be especially careful about this. When there is a sound system being used for music or an oral presentation of any kind, it should be adjusted so that the base and lower tones are predominant. This will make it easier for hard of hearing people to enjoy the music or understand what is being said. Hearing loss is greater for consonants than for vowels. S, Z, T, F, and G are particularly difficult to tell apart, causing difficulty in hearing words correctly. Similar words such as cat and sat can be difficult to discriminate. People should be aware that even if the sounds can be heard, they might not always be heard correctly. It is helpful to choose a quiet private place with out background noise for conversations. Some hearing deficits can be helped by the use of hearing aids. They must be worn and adjusted correctly in order to help. And, select a seller who promptly responds to your concerns and works with you to resolve fitting and volume adjustment problems. Look for a seller who will teach you how to use the device and be available to service it. Some hearing deficits cannot be helped by hearing aids and the hearing is so poor that verbal communication is difficult. In this case, encourage use of nonverbal communication such as big smiles, waving or demonstrating. Provide items which can be seen and handled as conversation starters. Also, do not overlook the potential for writing to communicate. Provide opportunities for people to participate in activities that are enjoyable but require little conversation; playing cards, doing puzzles, preparing food and taking walks for example. When people cannot hear what is being said, be sure that they know what is going on and what the conversation is about. If there is a conversation that does not concern them, tell him/her the topic so that he/she will not feel left out or talked about. Hearing is important to more than communication. It is also a way of getting signals from the surroundings and therefore relates to safety. People who work or live with a hard of hearing person should keep this in mind. People in the community should also consider that an older person crossing the street may or may not hear a car horn. Hearing loss affects several aspects of a person’s life and the lives of their family and friends. Learning how to handle the hearing loss can be beneficial to everyone. If you or somebody you care about would like a free hearing screening, appointments are now being scheduled for October 2, 2013 from 3:30 - 5:00pm at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport. The screenings will be done by Mr. David Pucci, an audiologist with Niagara Cerebral Palsy. Please call 433-1886 to register.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Qi Gong for Health

Qigong is coming to Lockport. What is Qigong? It is an ancient Chinese health care practice that uses gentle movements to promote strength, balance, relaxation, and coordination. It can be practiced sitting or standing and integrates posture, breathing techniques and some mental focus and relaxation techniques. The word is made up of two Chinese words. Qi is pronounced “chee” and is usually translated to mean the energy that flows through all things. The second word, gong, is pronounced “gung”. It means accomplishment or skill that is cultivated through steady practice. Together, Qigong means cultivating energy. The gentle rhythmic movements of Qigong reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality and enhance the immune system. It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions. Those who maintain a consistent practice of Qigong, find that it helps one regain youthful vitality, maintain health and speed recovery from illness. Western scientific research confirms that Qigong reduces hypertension and incidence of falling in the aged population. One of the more important long-term effects is that Qigong reestablishes the body/mind/soul connection. When these three aspects of our being are integrated, it encourages a positive outlook on life that helps eliminate harmful attitudes and behaviors. It also creates a balanced life style, which brings greater harmony, stability and enjoyment. Jennifer Pedini, Stay Well Qigong Instructor, encourages people of all abilities to give Qigong a try. She says, “Qigong can interest and benefit everyone, from the most physically challenged to athletes. Anyone can enrich their lives by adding Qigong to their routine – of special interest to me is adults who are looking for gentle exercise to enhance balance, or reduce stress, or improve their overall health.” Ms. Pedini goes on to say, “A free introductory class is being offered for individuals who are curious and want to see if Qigong is something they would like to try. I think they will feel really good at the end of an hour, and want to add it to their wellness routine.” The free introductory class is being offered on September 11, 2013 from 9:00am – 10:00am at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario Street, Lockport, NY. Each class is $5.00 per session after the free session and enrollment is open with the ability to join anytime. The only “equipment” needed for this exercise is comfortable clothes and the desire to try the slow gentle movements of Qigong. As with any exercise program, it is recommended that you check with your physician before starting any new exercise.